A topic that is very near and dear to my heart is food security and the right of every citizen, especially our country's children, the access to nutritional food, shelter and clothing. It has never sat well with me that in this beautiful and free country of ours, that children and families have to do without. They do without proper nutrition, heat, clothing and basic necessities that a lot of us merely take for granted. The ever increasing strive for profits has left in its wake poverty and hopelessness.
This is a picture from the top floor of Atlantic Superstore here in Yarmouth.
I actually always take a moment to stop and marvel at all the food and products available to us as a society. We no longer have to eat what is in season. We can enjoy exotic foods from right around the globe. We can purchase an avocado from Mexico, garlic from China and a T-Shirt made in Bangladesh by an individual making $38 a month, all in one place. We make ourselves feel better about the fact that they only make $38 by saying money goes further in those countries, or better yet, at least they have a job. Yet I can guarantee none of us would take their place in a million years if given the choice. No thank you, I will buy and wear that shirt and not give a passing thought to the hands that sewed it. As I write this I am wearing a Joe Fresh shirt that was sewn in Bangladesh and it nauseates me to think the person that made it could now very well be gone because of their poor working conditions and my need to buy cheap clothing. All because of profit margins and consumer wants and needs.
Now my closet is full of Joe Fresh clothes, so I am not speaking from my high horse or passing judgement on any one of us. It's just that as I educate myself, and take the time to read and learn, I am changing some of my views on what is important in my life and what I want to teach my children.
Which brings us back to the affordability of food. I read an article today that said the average Nova Scotian family of 4 needs to pay out $839 a month to meet their basic nutritional needs. To that add another $36 if you live rurally. Now personally, we are a family of 5 in rural Nova Scotia, and that cost is more like $1100. We also must pay gas, heating oil, electricity, phone, internet, insurance, car payments, mortgage, clothing ( hence Joe Fresh ) and any extracurricular activities for the kids. And that leaves no money for anything else which is why Credit is so popular these days. And this is what every family in this country faces. My family isn't original or different. In fact we are lucky that my husband is employed and that we do have an income, although we are far from able to eat and drink and do what we want. Money is very tight, like it is for a lot of families, and I really don't see the situation getting better for any of us.
How are we as a country going to feed our children if wages continue to stagnate and prices of fuel, food, clothing and power to name a few continue to rise. How is it that our power company's have record profits, yet our bills increase annually and families are forced to turn off their heat and lights to be able to afford to eat and feed their children. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?
I live in a community that has seen it's share of hard times lately. There is a lot of poverty. I have seen people huddled in the home with toques and jackets because it is too expensive to turn on the heat. I have seen people longingly hold on to oranges and apples, only to put them back and turn to the hotdogs and buns because this will feed the family for much longer than an apple will. And I have seen week after week after week the wastefulness of big box stores as they throw out their products in to dumpsters and bins, because they would rather throw it out, if unsellable, then give it to someone in need.
One of the worst offenders of this in our community is Mark's Work Wearhouse. Every week the bin is full of boots, jackets and clothing that they haven't been able to sell. Tossed out. But they have made sure no one else can have them. They slice the footwear and clothing so it is unusable. Now I'm not naïve. I know they can't give that stuff away in this community, or discount it as it would undercut their market. I get that. But it could be shipped off to a different community or shelter where individuals in need could utilize it. I have written emails and letters and gotten no response, so the only thing I can do is refuse to shop there and spread the word. I just can't pay $100 for a pair of boots that I will see in the garbage a few months from now anyways. Its silly.
So how do we fix our society? How do we become more caring for those in our community that do without? I don't know. I'm barely scraping by myself and we have a normal income.
I do know there needs to be change on a government level. We need to educate ourselves as consumers so we can make good choices. We need to eliminate our wastefulness as a society and have greener initiatives. We need to realize that life isn't all about profit. We don't need to be rich.
Now I don't mean to be negative here. I'm sure you all realize by now I surround myself with positivity at all costs. But the reality is, to live in a positive society we must always strive for positive change. And that change needs to be now. There is no excuse for any child to go hungry or do without in Canada, or anywhere in the world for that matter. And to me, the root of the cause, as usual, comes down to money and profit. So to all those out there striving for the big profits off the backs of the families and the children of this country I say this.....YOU CAN'T TAKE YOUR MONEY OR YOUR THINGS WITH YOU WHEN YOUR LIFE IS DONE! And that's a fact.